Posts Tagged ‘presidential elections France 2012’

met de hakken over de sloot

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niet verder springen dan je stok lang is


In Dutch we have the expression ‘Met de hakken over de sloot’ (literal: with your heels over the ditch) meaning to jump over a ditch and by the narrowest of margins land on the other side.

There is another saying in Dutch about jumping over ditches that criss cross its flat and muddy countryside: ‘niet verder springen dan je stok lang is’ (jump no further than the length of your stick). With an electorate of 51,9  % (or a tiny bit less or more in the final totals) and a turnout of almost 80% (as far as I can find out now) it has not been a ‘landslide victory’ for Hollande. If one thing is sure, the length of his stick will be limited.

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A comparative view of French presidential elections over one century: 1913 – 2012… politics beyond once’s own nation.

“Pensez à moi d’abord” (think first about me) was the caption of this front page picture citation published by Le Petit Journal in 1913… the picture refers to the behind the scene scheming of political parties at the eve of new presidential elections during the constitutional system of the Third Republic (1870-1940).

The French parliament

But what about the “think about me first” in the context of European politics?

The European parliament

Think first about me! This is the wish that France addresses at the congress goers of Versaille. (this refers to party meetings in Versailles at the eve of the election of a new president in January 1913 (Point Carré) and refers to the scheming of political parties behind the scene, whereby party interest came before national interest, as usual).

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It is not so much who wins the French elections, but what is lost to all French voters once again in the ‘super presidentialism’ of a system installed fifty years ago with a manipulated referendums (1958-1962) that created the Fifth Republic with ex-general De Gaulle – in power already – making his rule even more powerful. Le Cinquième République, a legal coup-d’état as it was seen by some in that time (as expressed in “Le coup d’état permanente” by François Mitterand 1964, who as a Machiavellian figure did not hesitated later to make use himself of these Gaullist inspired constitutional powers  – after a first failed bid for power in 1965 – during two long presidencies lasting from 1981 to 1995, with the presidential terms of seven years, since 2002 changed to terms of five years)

Whoever wins coming sunday, this shadow of De Gaulle and his military and Bonapartist  inspired  top down constitutional rule is still looming….

How far away is the concept for a more democratic and ceremonial role of the French president, as a figure that helps bridging differences, with parties that are no longer captives of central-presidential-command and a parliament and prime-ministre that finally regain control and give space for more consensus and interaction with the electorate, putting an end to the frequent practice of rule by presidential degree?

Such alternative democratic concepts exist already for decades. Criticism of  the the 5th Republic system is more often voiced “a regime that has become more and more monarchical with the passage of years” and ideas for a Sixth Republic that assures “political control by citizens and their representatives” are circulating. A detailed plan in French can be found on the web site of  the Convention pour la 6e République.

Cartoon on a socialist poster against the first referendum to change the French constitution and give more power to the president in 1958, marked by the Algerian revolt against French colonialism. From top left to bottom right the captions: 1) De Gaulle has been carried to power by the rebellion prepared by his friends, and encouraged and relaunched by his appeals of 15 and 19 May forcing parliament to sing to his tune (‘faire chanter’ = also black mail). 2) The constitution is made to fit De Gaulle. His ministers are his doubles (art 6-8-23) , the assembly can do nothing against him. 3) Urne/Ballot box; Dissolution/dissolve; He could impose laws by calling new referendums and dissolve parliament at his will (art. 11,12). 4) He could assume all power by declaring “the institutions in danger”: imitating Charles X and renewing Napoléon III (art 16).

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A sitting president of any nation at the end of his term always has stains on his/her presidential uniform and the frequency with which the presidential suit has to be brought to the state-media-dry-cleaning-services may increase when she or he is so bold to want a second term. Sarkozy is no exception to this rule and indeed his stains are numerous, some are hard to remove older stains on the shirts he was wearing during earlier stages of his career: Karachi-gate (1994)  Bettencourt (2007), La Garde-Tapie (1993-2007), and several stains by ‘the always well documented slander’ of Le Canard Enchainé (like the October 2011 article on how a death sentence of Gaddafi has been instrumented by French Military Intelligence). Last stain thrown at him was by Dominique Strauss Kahn saying his sexual misconduct in New York was manipulated by the French government to keep him from running for President . Yes, the same DSK who is like Sarkozy a master of doing things and than saying he has not done them.

There is a method to remove such scandalous stains  in one go from the president uniform and that is an old governmental recipe: WAGE WAR!

War is is something as glorious as it is dirty and a president that leads a nation into  war – even when it is just a small one – will not be judged anymore for his civil stains. A president in the double role of a warrior wears the military stains that come with that exercise like medals of honour on his uniform.

This understanding of the manipulation of the mood of a nation made me write several weeks ago this small article which may have still some informative relevance today, only one week from the final decisive presidential elections in France.


Election Marathon for the Presidential Election in France today and how Sarkozy tries to distinguish himself from his opponents… as a world leader taking the lead in liberating an oppressed people and killing the dictator that suppressed them, a man capable of bringing democracy by decisive force. A glorious picture that has more than one layer….

Below some pictures of Sarkozy’s enjoying his greatest moment during a visit to Libya in September 2011. Applauded as the embodiment of the liberating force of France, France  of the Great Revolution centuries ago, still bringing liberty, equality and fraternity.

L’Express September 16., 2011: “A Tripoli, Sarkozy savoure sa victoire libyenne” (in Tripoli Sarkozy savours hisLibyan victory). Pictures from both Benghazi and Tripoli.

“Amis de Benghazi, nous vous demandons une chose: nous croyons dans la Libye unie, pas dans la Libye divisée.” Aujourd’hui, “vous devez montrer un nouveau courage, celui de la réconciliation”. (Friends of Benghazi, we are asking you one thing: we believe in an united Libya, not in a divided Libya.” Today, “you must show a new courage, the one of reconciliation.”)

The words of Sarkozy about a needed ‘reconciliation’ were spoken in Benghazi on the 15th of September 2011.  It is now one year ago that the revolt against the Gaddafi regime in Libya started and the USA, Canada  and its West-European Allies intervened on behalf of  anti-Gaddafi insurgents. The step from support of insurgents – who would not have been able themselves to beat the troops of Gaddafi on a short term – with aerial bombardments, to a civil reconciliation process, has been impossible to take. The way in which a regime change takes place also determines what kind of new social structure will appear. There have been over 25.000 air missions by NATO, but,  throwing bombs from high in the sky and repairing means not only repairing material devastation on the ground. Repairing the social devastation is an even bigger task. The military victory and the jubilant proclamation of a new order leave the population a weak non-elected self-appointed government in Tripoli, secessionist regions, all sorts of retaliation against all kind of layers in society that have been closely allied with the former regime. How else could it be after a regime that has been busy establishing and keeping its power during four decades.

Click image to do a new Google Image Search with the text string “la france forte”

Nota Bene the news tableau has five layers:
1 – the picture in the centre is from Le Petit Journal exactly one hundred years ago glorifies military aviation in its earliest days.

2 – French airplanes returning to their base in Corsica after flying a bombing mission over Libya, article in Los Angeles Times March 21, 2011, taken over by Australian web site. “Gaddafi fervour wanes as bombs hit” is the header of the article.

3 – the picture of Sarkozy with Gaddafi dates from 2007 made at his state visit to Libya posing in the head quarters of Gaddafi Bab-Al-Zizia, which were later bombed by French airplanes. The monument with the clenched fist destroying a jet fighter is a monument commemorating the USA air attack on Gaddafi on April 15th 1986, ordered by the President Reagan government in retaliation of the bomb attack on a dancing in West Berlin which fitted in a whole series of Libyan involvements in terrorist activities (Italian Red Brigades, the German Red Army Fraction (Rote Armee Fraktion)and the Irish republican Army). on From 2003 onward the Gaddafi regime had started a diplomatic normalisation process, moving away from their earlier hard line violent international policies. The header for this article in which this picture appears is: “Libyan market seen as a bonanza.”

Picture as published by US Today on March 8, 2007. With the following caption: “Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi right, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy stand while national anthems are being played, at the Bab Azizia Palace in Tripoli, in this July 25, 2007, file photo. European defense and aviation group EADS said Friday it had finalized two military contracts with Libya to supply anti-tank missiles and communications systems. French Defense Minister Herve Morin said the contracts had not yet been formally signed, despite the comments of a Libyan official, who said Thursday in Tripoli that Libya had signed the contracts. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)”

The same photograph appeared  since 2007 illustrating different articles and also an article that sheds an other light on the Sarkozy Gaddafi ‘amourette’. I just choose one of the many English language articles that followed on a report published by the French journalist research web site ‘MediaPart’ on the history of Sarkozy and Gaddafi contacts starting in the year 2005 (when Sarkozy was Minister of Interior under President Chirac). The web site Business Insider of March 12, 2012 starts of with: “Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly received €50 million ($65.8 million) in illegal campaign contributions from Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi when he first ran for president of France in 2007.” Sarkozy and his party have denied all allegations and “as France’s head of state, Sarkozy cannot be prosecuted while in office, but if he loses the upcoming elections (which seems likely) a full investigation could be conducted into his party’s finances.”

Cropped version of the Michel Euler photograph of Sarkozy’s visit to Gaddafi in 2007.

Somehow the detailed report of Mediapart first published on March 12, 2012, has been maneuvered  out of the public eye and some of the persons cited in the Mediapart documents have publicly distanced themselves from references to them. The allegations are not much part now of the last week debates before the French presidential elections, though suspicion is lingering on. Reading though the complicated relationships of the various ‘strawmen’ and other profiteering intermediaries involved,explains that such wheeling and dealing is part of regular politics, and that the players involved in it have learned enough lessons to obscure and hide their traces. The answer of the Sarkozy election campaign office came this week end with an article in Le Monde “Pour Sarkozy, Mediapart est “une officine au service de la gauche” (for Sarkozy Mediapart is “an office at the service of the Left.”)

The French language web page that refers to the alleged financing of the Sarkozy presidential campaign in the year 2007 (one needs to be subscribed to see the full French text) There is an English summary also, that opens in this way: “According to information contained in a confidential report prepared by a recognised French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign received up to 50 million euros in secret funds from the regime of the late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.”

Another bit of news shedding light of the Gaddafi-Sarkozy relationship before the French President choose to attack his former ally, is March 16, 2012, interview with the son of Gaddafi for the Television station of EuroNews. Saif al-Islam did survive until now and has not been silenced yet, though he may use some of his knowledge first of all to protect himself. If he ever will face the International criminal Court in The hague, remains doubtful.

21011 March 16, Saif al-Islam: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

4 – Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah, Sunday, March 20.

This map that appeared on many  web sites shows the French participation in the aerial bombardment  in March 2011 of strongholds of the former ally of Sarkozy, Gaddafi.

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